Working to make 2019 an acceptable year of the Lord

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. — Luke 4:18-19

Jesus was a master at saying so much with so few words! During one of his trips to his boyhood home in Nazareth, He went to the synagogue on the sabbath and read portions from the Book of Isaiah which included the words above. After announcing “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing,” He sat down.

He was not quite done. Jesus decided there was more to say, so pointed and challenging that initial amazement over how a native son could be so articulate turned to anger. Jesus suggested the people of Nazareth were not open to doing as Isaiah prophesized and which Jesus proposed was to put into action that very day. Jesus compared his contemporaries to those in their past who ignored the pleas of the prophets and suffered severe consequences for their disobedience to God. It got so testy that his own people tried to “hurl him off the cliff.”

If 2019 is to be “the year of the Lord’s favor,” an acceptable year of the Lord, you and I need to fulfill the promises of God. We must continue in the footsteps of those of the last 166 years of this church’s presence, ministry, mission, and outreach in Gloversville — and with voices and actions felt beyond the scope of this community and Fulton County.

We face many challenges if we are to serve and do in ministry and mission as we hope and dream. Our membership and attendance at church functions is static — certainly not gaining as we hoped but as it must if we are to move from an aging congregation to one which continues to sustain good work in the decades to come. The challenge of “numbers” is not just how many people sit in the pews for worship, share their time and talent, and participate in activities, but also involves dollars — the stewardship of money which allows us to function as a church. We must face the reality that soon my service as a half-time pastor and teacher might need to be reduced to 40 percent or less. That is simple reality.

We also face the discouraging reality that far too many people and officials in this country want to do little for the poor and oppressed for whom Isaiah made promises, assurances Jesus thought it time (in his time) to fulfill. Discouraged or not, we hear the call of God on our lives — and in faithful service manifest in ministry in this community, mission giving, by opening our door to programs like Captain, we do our part — and seek to do more, so that this year, 2019, might indeed be an acceptable year of the Lord.

By Josh Bovee

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